DOVER, Del. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a Delaware law allowing Court of Chancery judges to preside over secret arbitrations in business disputes is unconstitutional.
The Delaware Coalition for Open Government sued last year, arguing that the law allowing secret proceedings and related court rules violated the constitutional and civil rights of citizens to attend judicial proceedings and access court records.
In a ruling issued Thursday, the judge agreed, saying the arbitration proceedings amount to non-jury civil proceedings to which the public has a qualified right of access.
Attorneys for the state had argued that the secret arbitration made the court more efficient and generated revenue for Delaware's state government.
Several media organizations, including The Associated Press, submitted a brief supporting the open-government coalition.